Day: January 16, 2018

Interconnected benefits of urban agriculture

Read the full story in Science Daily.

From a vacant plot in a blighted neighborhood springs neatly combed rows of plants put in by the neighbors. They meticulously care for this small piece of land and among the drab looking buildings sprouts a patch of green. Cultivating the land may have started as a way to unite a neighborhood; to give pride to place, or it might be the project of a local high school to teach land stewardship.

The urban agriculture phenomenon has grown over the years for many reasons, each specific to the plot of land or rooftop it covers. While most of the benefits from these efforts seem to be limited and very local, when taken collectively there is a significant environmental impact that results from them.

Now a team of researchers led by Arizona State University and Google has assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at global scale. They report their findings in “A Global Geospatial Ecosystems Services Estimate of Urban Agriculture,” in the current issue of Earth’s Future.

Rewritable paper goes technicolor

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

The paper industry has a significant environmental impact, from cutting down trees for raw material to consuming large amounts of energy and water to process that material. To curb that impact, chemists have been working on rewritable paper technologies that would allow people to print on a sheet of paper with special inks and then erase them to reuse the paper.

A team now reports a form of rewritable paper that can display multicolored images and text for months, before being erased and reused time after time (Nat. Commun. 2018 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02452-w).

Racial discrimination and the sharing economy — what does the research tell us?

Read the full story at Shareable.

The sharing economy is often lauded with offering a number of opportunities, from access to cheaper and more convenient consumption alternatives to new revenue streams for on-demand services. Next to the economic benefits are promises of sustainability and social inclusion. Unfortunately, not everybody stands equal in this emerging economy. Several academic papers have started to document evidence of discrimination in the sharing economy. Here we focus on racial discrimination.

California is preparing to defend its waters from Trump order

Read the full story from Reveal.

In its first act to shield California from the Trump administration’s repeal of regulations, the state’s water board has prepared its own rulesprotecting wetlands and other waters.

Women and Men in STEM Often at Odds Over Workplace Equity

Read the full story from the Pew Research Center for Social and Demographic Trends.

For women working in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) jobs, the workplace is a different, sometimes more hostile environment than the one their male coworkers experience. Discrimination and sexual harassment are seen as more frequent, and gender is perceived as more of an impediment than an advantage to career success. Three groups of women in STEM jobs stand out as more likely to see workplace inequities: women employed in STEM settings where men outnumber women, women working in computer jobs (only some of whom work in the technology industry), and women in STEM who hold postgraduate degrees. Indeed, a majority of each of these groups of STEM women have experienced gender discrimination at work, according to a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey with an oversample of people working in STEM jobs.

These findings come amid heightened public debate about underrepresentation and treatment of women – as well as racial and ethnic minorities – in the fast-growing technology industry and decades of concern about how best to promote diversity and inclusion in the STEM workforce. Conducted in the summer of 2017, prior to the recent outcry about sexual harassment by men in positions of public prominence, the Center’s new survey findings also speak to the broader issues facing women in the workplace across occupations and industries.1

Interior plans to move thousands of workers in the biggest reorganization in its history

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke launched an unprecedented effort Wednesday to undertake the largest reorganization in the department’s 168-year history, moving to shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations and change the way the federal government manages more than 500 million acres of land and water across the country.

The proposal would divide the United States into 13 regions and centralize authority for different parts of Interior within those boundaries. The regions would be defined by watersheds and geographic basins, rather than individual states and the current boundaries that now guide Interior’s operations. This new structure would be accompanied by a dramatic shift in location of the headquarters of major bureaus within Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Worldwide importance of honey bees for natural habitats captured in new report

Read the full story in Science Daily.

An unprecedented study integrating data from around the globe has shown that honey bees are the world’s most important single species of pollinator in natural ecosystems and a key contributor to natural ecosystem functions. The report weaves together information from 80 plant-pollinator interaction networks. The results clearly identify the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as the single most frequent visitor to flowers of naturally occurring (non-crop) plants worldwide.

Business Leaders Aren’t Backing Up Their Promises on Sustainable Development Goals

Read the full story from ProBono Australia.

It seems there is a gap between what Australian companies publicly state they are doing with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and what they are actually doing. Our research found that companies are still not meaningfully disclosing the way these goals are measured and reporting their contributions.

McDonald’s Agrees to Global Phase-Out of Polystyrene Packaging; As You Sow Claims Credit

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

McDonald’s has agreed to end the use of polystyrene foam packaging globally by the end of this year, says shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. A proposal filed by As You Sow urging the company to phase out of polystyrene was supported by 32% of shares voted in May 2017, the group says.

Filtering Water Better than Nature

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Water passes through human-made straws faster than the gold standard protein, allowing us to filter seawater.

%d bloggers like this: